Pornography and the Internet
Since the beginning of time, men and women have fantasized over naked bodies. Pornography has always been a part of life and yet it has never been so readily available as what it is now. Erotic stories, explicit pictures, XXX- rated films and modern day magazines, are all part of the stimulus material which is known as "pornography" or as it is legally put, "obscenity." While many agree that children need protection on the Internet, the nature of this protection is contested. Explosive issues are involved in the debate over Internet regulations, with arguments often framed as child safety versus censorship. Pornography on the Internet cannot be totally band and yet any user cannot access it as our society's ethics are against children looking at pornography.
The vast majority of information on the Internet is entertaining, informative, and educational. Nevertheless, the "Net" can have a dark side. The Internet is seemingly unregulated at present. This means that unlike any other form of communications available today it is open to abuse and misuse in a myriad of ways. The unregulated flow of information that the Internet provides creates concerns with parents and politicians.
The Internet is a useful tool for reference. The purpose of the Internet is to promote learning and to promote easy access to other resources available on the Internet. All forms of pornography are abusive to these purposes of the Internet. As a whole, society should care more about the misuse of Freedom of Speech on the Internet. Pornography is not only abusing the Internet by its presence, but society's children are accessing pornography, thus abusing this resource. Several organizations have developed Internet filters to solve this problem. However, even the best combination of parental discretion software and safety guidelines leave loopholes that individual parents simply cannot close.
Part of the problem is that the few censorship laws that we have are not enforced. So why don't we enforce them? The answer to this question is found on the screen of every computer in the world. The Internet, or as one person put it, "The closest thing to true anarchy that has ever existed." How is one to censor the Internet when it is literally impossible? What is the use of placing fines for copying pornography when it is impossible to tell the age of the user? How can one even trace the user when there are twenty-five billion members and it is impossible to follow them all? How can we delete the pornography when a new batch arrives every day and it is impossible to stop it?
One major point making censorship difficult is the fact that censorship laws have only recently been required. In England for instance, censorship laws have, for hundreds of years, concentrated on heretic materials, where as now, they are finding that the only offence censorship is needed to prevent, is pornography. The US wants to put strict censorship on all obscene material. However, the first amendment of their constitution states, "there shall be no law abridging the freedom of speech or press," and thus finding it difficult to "step around," the law. It is obvious that people are putting an effort in to censor the pornography. However, when it comes to censoring material which goes all over the world, a balance must be found between the censorship laws of all the countries that are linked into the net. Here a problem arises, because Denmark laws state that pornography is legal it will be difficult to ban it from the Internet. So an argument occurs. How is the world to censor the Internet without causing discrepancies between the different countries? Indeed, some people say, "Why bother?"
Therefore, the other side of the argument, presented by the economists and pornography fanatics, is why should we censor the Internet when perhaps it is not necessary. There are many people in the world that will tell you that pornography is a harmless part of life. Artists will tell you that the naked body is a picture of beauty, grace and style. Authorities in Denmark will say that pornography is a valued part of their society and psychologists will tell you that pornography reduces the rate of sexual abuse and rape. Indeed, the human body is a natural part of life in all of it's forms, so why do we regard the naked body as obscene. Is it not stated in the bible that wisdom told us to wear clothes? And did it not also state that God did not want us to have wisdom? So can it not also be said, that God did not want us to wear clothes and so therefore, he was encouraging pornography? This argument seems to demolish the religious fanatics who say that we will burn in hell for looking at obscene materials. After looking at both sides of the argument, it is obvious to see that some middle point must be reached between the two.
The growth of the Internet into a powerful, worldwide medium has increased the danger to youths throughout the world and complicated law enforcement capabilities. It has simplified the method of exchanging pornography, allowing virtually any individual to receive pornography instantly. Unfortunately, the next logical step, enforcing existing laws and creating news regulations for the Internet, is fraught with political difficulty.
My evaluation of the argument and my recommendations are as follows. All pornography stored on the Internet must be placed in an area that can be accessed only by a password, as well as identification which proves that the user is over eighteen. (E.g. A driver's license number.) Pornography found on public bulletin boards must be deleted immediately. This is the responsibility of not only the governing committee, but also the user. Files identified as pornography should be traced and any under eighteen users fined accordingly. Viewers of pornography who are over eighteen are to remain strictly confidential. No personal data is to be released unless required for National Security. The above recommendations, if carried out on the Internet, would provide the world with a pornography-safe network, one that could be used by children and adults alike across the globe.